Sadly, adoption scams are a reality, and if you do not have the proper education or a knowledgeable advocate, you could easily become a victim to an adoption scam. There are a few ways a “birth-parent” can con a hopeful adoptive parent, but the result is always the same… a lot of money, and no baby. Typically, a pregnant woman reaches out to an adoptive family requesting financial support with false proof of pregnancy or no intention of placing their baby for adoption. Because it is the norm for the adoptive family to consume a lot of birth-mom’s expenses, the eager to be adoptive parents assume the responsibility and pay the expenses. The birth parent leverages the adoptive parents’ emotions, threatening that if they do not meet the requests, then the other parents will be chosen. When you are in the thick of the emotions, it is hard to see past the scam.
Ways To Avoid Adoption Scams
While it is impossible to always detect a scam when working in adoption, we at Connected by Love Adoptions ALWAYS proceed with caution. We have put boundaries and protocols in place to greatly reduce the chances of the scam. If you are working with another agency, or attempting to navigate these risky waters alone, here are some ways to best protect yourself.
Work With A Reputable Adoption Agency
It is estimated that 80% of people who are victims of adoption scams are adoptive parents who decided to take the independent adoption route. When you opt for independent adoption, you must meet and vet prospective birth mothers independently without the presence of professionals. It’s easy to be deceived this way. Birth parents know that they are working with vulnerable people who would do just about anything to have a baby. Reputable agencies see the signs earlier and can often help you save your money and your emotions!
An adoption agency provides highly trained adoption professionals who screen pregnant mothers. These professionals also act as an intermediary between birth mothers and adoptive parents. Adoption agencies network with other adoption professionals, and they can identify potential scammers quickly.
I will warn you though, not all agencies are the same. Some see the risky parents and do not implement caution because their paycheck is the same whether the adoption goes through or not. Make sure you read reviews and interview each agency thoroughly.
Validate Proof Of Pregnancy
When presented with an adoption opportunity, you should first request valid proof of pregnancy. We highly suggest that this proof of pregnancy comes directly from the doctor to you/the agency. The fact that the birth mother looks pregnant or shows you an ultrasound isn’t enough. These things can be faked or photoshopped to convince you. Adoptive parents should seek the services of a medical provider to authenticate the pregnancy claims.
Research Prospective Birth Parents
Taking time to know the birth mother is vital whether you’re opting for independent adoption or working with an adoption agency. Once you’re convinced about moving forward with a prospective birth parent, you should take out time to know them. Take the time to run a detailed online search of the name and see if any negative story pops out. Doing so gives you the chance to spot any red flags.
Never Transfer Money Directly
While it is necessary to cover the financial costs of being pregnant such as medical and living expenses, you should never do this directly. Make all payments through your chosen adoption agency or an adoption attorney if you’re adopting independently. Understand the state adoption laws as it concerns making payments and stick to it religiously. In fact there are heavy rules around birth mom expenses, what can be paid and how they can be paid.
Adoption scams are so common these days that several groups and forums are dedicated to exposing these scammers. Join these adoption forums and support groups, and stay updated on current and past adoption scammers. Read stories about how other people were scammed, and you might notice patterns to indicate whether you’re being scammed.
If you notice that the birth mom is on social media having a baby shower, or you see evidence that leads you to believe you are getting scammed… DOCUMENT IT. Although it is hard to prove, adoption scams are a felony, and it can be tried in court with proper evidence.
Adoption scams follow a trend, and the more you know about it, the lesser your chances of falling victim to these scams – even if you are working without an agency.
The best way of avoiding adoption scams is working with a renowned and trusted adoption agency like Connected By Love Adoption. Visit our website, call us at (321) 355- 2010 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our services and how we help connect you to genuine prospective birth mothers.